The clergy of the Diocese all received a letter from the Bishop of Oxford last week, from which I quote:
…..I know, from my inspiring visits to deanery chapters in recent weeks, of the quite astounding efforts and commitment that you have invested in adapting and flexing the ministry and mission of our churches in every locality, and in the face of circumstances which none of us ever expected to face in our lifetime. You have responded with wonderful agility, creativity and energy. In the face of that huge commitment which you and your families have made, I am sorry that I and other members of Bishop’s Council have concluded that there needs to be a freeze in the level of clergy stipends next April…..
I share this with you, not to complain that clergy won’t be sharing in any pay rise (after all, 1% of not very much, is…not very much) but just to alert you to the fact that the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis has already begun to hit the national church, and that the machineries of power are beginning to turn in their pre-set and pre-Covid ways. For the average Diocese, pretty much the only economic lever they have to pull is the one that says “recruitment and pay”. Which is a shame, because the one thing that the Covid-19 crisis has revealed about the Church of England is the strength and value of the parish system, and the irrelevence of much of the burgeoning middle management.
We pay for what we value. Unfortunately, the model for payment that the C/E uses is one that disempowers parishes, who are asked for large sums of money and then given very little say in how that money is spent. The system is only kept running by the economic sacrifice of the parochial clergy, both paid and unpaid, whose lifetime generosity is exploited by the institution and largely unrecognized by the laity. Covid-19 could well be the breaking of this structural paternalism.
Sunday Worship for the 26th of July
This Sunday’s worship options are hosted by Revds John, Linda and Kevin. You will need the zoom app installed on your device (laptop, tablet, phone or PC) – download from https://www.zoom.us. Just before the appointed time, run the app, click on “join meeting” and enter the meeting number and passcode below for the service you wish to attend.
A Service of the Word with Revd John 10am 188 513 761 and 019797 Readings, and prayers, to start the day with God.
Worshipping Together with Revd Linda 10am 870 5297 8243 and 846000 A joyful service of hope to bring our community together.
Short Communion with Revd Kevin 11am 636 645 195 and 000162. A traditional communion service, with a sermon from the Bishop of Reading, and a eucharist recorded at Checkendon Church.
Family and friends are welcome to join us. It is a great way to stay in touch. There are also midweek service options available on Wednesdays and Fridays in the evening. Do check out the worship pages on the Team Ministry website for full details.
Its difficult to take a collection during an online service (!) but you can support Woodcote or Checkendon churches via their dedicated and secure card donation pages if you wish, at any time. Thank you !
As the schools take a break for the summer weeks let’s give thanks for all those who’ve remained at work throughout this crisis, whether “front line” or not, and simply who by keeping on keeping on have helped everybody maintain a sense of purpose and direction in a time of trauma. Those of you who have been following the progress of your garden will rejoice with me that the courgette plant almost killed by the late frosts has returned with great vigour and is fruiting with abandon, the blackfly on the climbing beans is now happily under control thanks to a combination of close attention and a flock(?) of ladybirds, and the gooseberries are now in the freezer awaiting attention for jam or chutney.
We have been in training all spring, so it would seem, for a summer at home, for once, where the prize is not for those who go the farthest or spend the most, but is to those who have learnt to be able to see the wonders right under their feet.
Rejoice in the Lord, always. I’ll say it again. Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)
Your Rector, Canon Kevin.